DENVER (AP) – Charlie Blackmon didn’t have to wait long for a shot at redemption.
The night after Blackmon made a costly error in center field, he hit a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Colorado Rockies held the World Series champion Houston Astros to one hit at Coors Field in a 3-2 victory Wednesday.
Jon Gray pitched seven sharp innings and Carlos Gonzalez also homered for Colorado.
Blackmon, whose fielding error in the 10th opened the door to a big inning in Houston’s 8-2 win on Tuesday, drove a 3-1 pitch from Collin McHugh (5-1) into the Astros’ bullpen for his 20th home run of the season and second career game-ending hit.
“That’s the beauty of baseball,” Blackmon said. “You can stink, which is OK as long as you don’t let that make you stink the next time or the next time after that. That’s what makes baseball great. It’s a long season and it gives you another chance.”
It was a dramatic finish to a wild game in which the Astros had a triple wiped out after a replay review because of fan interference, and the Rockies scored the tying run on a foul popup.
AL MVP Jose Altuve ended up with Houston’s only hit – an RBI double – before leaving with discomfort in his right knee.
“Been bothering him a little bit for a few games now,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “Nothing’s wrong with it. He could’ve played through it. He fought to stay in the game, but we felt it was best to take him out and give him a little bit of a blow just given that he was limping.”
Wade Davis (1-3) worked a scoreless inning for the win.
Leading off the sixth, Alex Bregman cruised into third with an apparent triple off the wall that eluded the leap of Colorado left fielder Gerardo Parra.
Rockies manager Bud Black challenged for fan interference, and Bregman was ruled out after replays showed a spectator clad in an orange Astros jersey extended his glove over the railing enough for the ball to glance off it, changing its trajectory slightly at the moment Parra was reaching up to attempt the catch. The fan was escorted out of the ballpark by security.
After the game, Bregman disagreed heatedly with the decision, saying it changed the game.
“There is no possible way you can say the left fielder jumping backwards into a wall is guaranteed to make the catch,” Bregman said. “We’re up 2-1 at the time. I’m at third base. We need a fly ball to the outfield to get me in and it’s 3-1. It’s horrible.”
Parra, however, said he had a bead on the ball and was stunned when it changed direction at the last moment.
“It almost hit me in the face,” he said. “I thought, ‘What happened? At the last second the ball moved.’ I never saw the fan touch the ball until I saw the replay, but I feel I would have had that ball.”
Colorado tied it 2-all thanks to heads-up baserunning by Raimel Tapia, who tagged up and scored from third when third baseman J.D. Davis sprinted toward the Houston dugout and tumbled over the railing as he caught Nolan Arenado’s foul pop. Davis’ teammate, Evan Gattis, broke his fall and helped push him back over the railing and onto the field, but Davis’ hurried throw home was off target as Tapia slid into the plate.
“It was just smart baserunning by Tapia and a simple wide throw by me,” Davis said.
Colorado grabbed an early lead when Gonzalez led off the second with a home run, his 12th of the season.
The Astros answered in the fourth to go in front 2-1. Bregman walked ahead of Altuve’s run-scoring double. Altuve went to third and Yuli Gurriel reached on first baseman Ian Desmond’s fielding error before Altuve came home with the go-ahead run on Marwin Gonzalez’s groundout.
Both starters pitched well but did not figure in the decision.
Gray allowed one hit and two runs – one earned. Charlie Morton gave up one run on four hits in six innings for Houston.
Astros: Altuve left in the bottom of the fifth. He was replaced in the batting order by J.D. Davis.
Rockies: Chad Bettis threw a light bullpen. He’s expected to make a second rehab start this weekend for Triple-A Albuquerque. The first was last Saturday. He threw 70 pitches in four innings but had to stop when a blister on his right middle finger bothered him.
Astros: After an off day, LHP Dallas Keuchel (8-8, 3.60 ERA) starts Friday night at home against Texas RHP Yovani Gallardo (4-1, 5.56). Keuchel is 5-0 in his last seven starts.
Rockies: Open a three-game interleague series Friday night against Oakland. LHP Kyle Freeland (8-6, 3.28 ERA) faces LHP Sean Manaea (9-6, 3.38). Colorado has won each of Freeland’s last four starts.
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